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Vircell S.L.

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Vircell Announces Immediate Release of COVID-19 Research Kit

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 05 Mar 2020
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Image: The Vircell COVID-19 detection kit (Photo courtesy of Vircell)
Image: The Vircell COVID-19 detection kit (Photo courtesy of Vircell)
An all-out R&D program carried out by the biotechnology company Vircell (Granada, Spain) has resulted in a PCR-based test for the detection of COVID-19.

A novel coronavirus of zoonotic origin, the 2019-nCoV virus (the causative agent of COVID-19 disease) was recently identified in patients with acute respiratory disease. This virus is genetically similar to SARS coronavirus and bat SARS-like coronaviruses. The outbreak was initially detected in Wuhan, a major city in China, but has subsequently been detected in other provinces of China as well as in major outbreaks in several other countries in Asia (South Korea, Thailand, Japan) and Europe (Italy). At this time nearly 80,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed with close to 3,000 fatalities.

Signs of infection are highly non-specific and these include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, dyspnea, and viral pneumonia. Currently, experts estimate that only a small percentage of coronavirus cases have actually been diagnosed clinically. Therefore, diagnostic tests specific for this infection are urgently needed for confirming suspected cases, screening patients, and conducting virus surveillance.

In response to the potential pandemic spread of the virus, Vircell rapidly developed a product for detection of COVID-19 that is available right now for research use.

The new product generates fast and reliable results in 90 minutes and is suitable for use in any qPCR thermal cycler with (FAM/HEX) detection. It is a double-target assay, specific for COVID-19 and other coronaviruses related to SARS. The assay kit contains two lyophilized master mixes for virus detection and confirmation, as suggested by international guidelines.

The assay does not show cross reactions with other common human respiratory CoVs or MERS and includes an internal amplification control in each master mix.

Vircell, which has always been concerned and committed to respiratory infectious diseases in China, has now made a tremendous R&D effort to develop this novel product in order to contribute as much as possible to understanding and containing this highly contagious disease.

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